PC manufacturers missing the point!

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Analogue, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. Analogue

    Analogue
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    It is becoming obvious to me that the PC is becoming more and more the channel through which we will receive entertainment - video - audio - gaming- etc. Particularly as 20mbs broadband is now on roll out.

    But the present PC hardware offerings do not seem to recognise this. What do I want

    A box which is effectively a nice looking box which is a laptop without a screen or keyboard to sit on the glass stand under my (yet to be bought) large screen LCD. It should have a large disc and fast processor of course and a DVD rewriter. Wifi enabled and of course an excellent cached video card.

    Software that is similar to a PVR but enables direct recording to disc or DVD.

    The keyboard should be full size and remote and incorporate a decent mouse substitute (old Logitech trackerbals were great). option of gaming handsets. Flash type memory plug in would also be great given that the capacity of this media is now becoming video compatible.

    I could then even select and stream material via my main PC via wifi for direct viewing to it.

    Yes I realise I could put together something like this from currently available hardware but I would be buying more than I need and it aint exactly designed around the application. It would cost a lot more than it need. I would be looking for a price of around £200.

    Given that what I am saying is that in future this box should be as common under the TV as a VHS recorder was 10 years ago then this price should be easily achievable.

    It is time that the Dells, HP's etc responded to this requirement. I see no evidence of it in their offerings as yet.
     
  2. skillian97

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    If you've tried speccing up something like this already you'll know it comes nowhere near £200 - a box like that uses pretty standard components, and the price is never going to be lower than the sum of its parts.

    I wouldn't expect that to be an option at that price anytime soon, unless Sky/Virgin release a subsidised box with a contract.
     
  3. Analogue

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    I think you somewhat miss my point in that yes I can put together a system which will cost over twice my target price. Firstly I will be buying a bit of kit which has several superfluous expensive components notably screen and battery system. Secondly as the market would be similar to the 1990 VHS VCR market the price volume equation should really kick in. I was not including gaming consoles in the target price.

    I am sure that if the PC manufacturers assessed the market need and potential market they could knock out a base system at my target price. I want a nice shiny box that looks like a DVD player to stick under my LCD. I will retain a far more sophisticated conventional PC elsewhere but of course on the same wifi LAN.

    I am convinced that in a very few years the internet will be seen as the major source for home video entertainment and will be able to deliver HD from the national and international broadcasters without additional subscription. Since most channels will be available this way we will also see premium sports channels and movies on demand delivered this way. It seems we will not get any broadcast HD by DVB-T
    This will sound a death knell for Sky by satelite. Whoever gets in first with the rights to deliver premium content this way will make a killing....Dear Richard Branson....
     
  4. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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    Things are kind of moving in the direction you want it. Apple offer the AppleTV for £199. Netgear has also come out with a network media streaming device for around the same price. The problem is for PC Vendors they're still hampered by standard PC hardware and software when making HTPC's. They still use much the same components as desktop PC's. HTPC's also still take, at minimum, 30 seconds to turn on which is unacceptable for a consumer electronics device. Also Windows Media Center is still built on top of XP or Vista. It would be nice to think, as you want, that more customised hardware will become available in time.

    I think in the future we will see a lot more network streaming devices at lower prices. I think your idea of a keyboard/mouse combination would prove unnecessarily clunky and unpopular. I still think remotes are what most consumers are familiar with. Also remember that HTPC's are still a niche area despite the promotion on web-sites such as this - so we're still at the early stages of their development.
     
  5. mjn

    mjn
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    Don't standalone HD-DVD and Blu-ray drives takes about 30-120 seconds to become "ready"?
     
  6. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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    Yes, and this is always usually mentioned in reviews of them, along with how slow they are to respond to menus. As Blu-ray/HD-DVD players are only in their second generation at the moment I expect this startup problem to disappear within the next couple of generations. Whether slow startup times will disappear in HTPC's in a couple of generations time I don't know? And maybe it was too harsh of me to say it's unacceptable but you still have to boot through the bios and go through the loading screens for XP or Vista before Media Center loads - which I don't like. Of course there's always S3 but, at least for me, I like to switch off my electrical equipment at night. Also HTPC's still don't offer the rock solid reliability of most consumer electronics devices yet - you still have to fiddle with codec's to play certain media types in MCE and there are still quirks in the software.

    That hasn't stopped me from ordering a new HTPC though for the living room though and I expect, as MCE matures and as HTPC's become more popular (that's if they don't evolve into network media streaming devices), that these problems will be solved.
     
  7. mjn

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    I doin't know about Blu-ray machines, but HD-DVD machines are just a PC with fancy OS, so i would say the two (quick boot up times for HD-DVD and HTPC) would happen at roughly similiar times.
     
  8. Analogue

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    Many thanks to all posters for your comments. Would anybody else like to specify the high ( VCR equivalent) volume home entertainment PC- stb? If you have any doubts look at todays announcements by ITV and BBC.
     

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